Archiving Offsite: Tips For Keeping Your Older Business Records Safe

Posted on: 18 April 2017

The IRS wants you to keep ten years' worth of back taxes information. Your clients' and customers' info has to be preserved for as long as they do business with you. Patient records and x-rays have to be kept until no longer needed or until the patients pass away. So much of this stuff has to be archived offsite because you simply do not have the room for it in your office. You also have the constant concern about the integrity and privacy of the documents and records. Here are some tips to help you start an archive and keep everything safe and intact.

Rent Storage Units

Renting a good-sized storage unit for archiving offsite is a good idea. There is plenty of room, everything can be boxed and organized by date and alphabetically within the same year, and boxes can be stacked six feet high or more. As you accumulate more and more records and documents, you can always scale up the size of your storage unit or rent another of the same size.

Additionally, climate-controlled storage units prevent damage to your documents. If you also choose to rent indoor storage units, the added security measures that these units provide helps keep documents and records from being stolen and prevent break-ins by would-be thieves. While you could rent outdoor units for archiving purposes, there is always the risk that the units might develop leaks or someone would cut the locks on your units. Without CCTV or security guards on hand and regular maintenance provided, your documents and records may suffer. It is something to consider when you are looking at a location for your records/documents and at the monthly rental price.

Protective Measures If You Rent an Outdoor Unit

There are special locks you can put on our outdoor storage unit. These locks are nearly impossible for a bolt cutters to cut off and are totally pick-proof. If your storage unit door has two places where you can put these locks, double up. When you want to protect everything you store, double locks should be your first line of defense.

As for all of your boxes, you could substitute waterproof filing containers. These hard plastic containers have hinged lids and twin sliding rails for hanging files. The lids snap shut and some are lockable. You could also use metal filing cabinets because they lock and are typically waterproof (to a point). The only downside to the metal filing cabinets is that they do not stack quite as well unless they are on very level ground and will not tip. Finally, you could still use cardboard archive boxes if you cover them with a tarp to prevent water damage from above. However, this is just a preventive measure for outdoor units. For more information, contact companies like U-Stor-It.